NHL lockout officially in effect as CBA expires

TSN.ca Staff
9/16/2012 1:25:44 AM
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The NHL's collective bargaining agreement expired at Midnight et on Saturday night and with no significant progress on a new deal, the players have been officially locked out.

The league and the NHL Players' Association touched base on Saturday leading up to the deadline, but no formal negotiation meetings were held.

"We talked with the Union this morning and in light of the fact that they have nothing new to offer, or any substantive response to our last proposal, there would be nothing gained by convening a bargaining session at this time," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told TSN. "I'm sure that we will remain in contact in the coming days."
A work stoppage was expected for some time and all but solidified on Thursday when the owners voted unanimously in favour of a lockout should no new CBA be reached.

"Today we suggested that the parties meet in advance of the owners' self-imposed deadline of midnight tonight," Steve Fehr, special counsel for the NHLPA, told TSN. "Don Fehr, myself and several players on the Negotiating Committee were in the city and prepared to meet. The NHL said that it saw no purpose in having a formal meeting. There have been and continue to be private, informal discussions between representatives of both sides."

Several attempts were made to prevent a lockout over the past couple of weeks, including injunction requests in both Alberta and Quebec courts. The Quebec Labour Board however, denied the players' request for an injunction on Friday.

The players' association also stated their willingness to continue playing under the old CBA while negotiations continue, but NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had been adamant the league would not operate without a new deal first being reached.

The biggest sticking point in negotiations has been revenue sharing, with owners proposing players cut their share of hockey-related revenue over a six-year period. The players' share under the old CBA was 57 per cent; the league's latest proposal would cut that number to 49 per cent, dropping to 47 per cent by the end of the six years.

The NHLPA's counter offer starts at 54.3 per cent share for the players, and ends at 52.7 per cent.

Hockey related revenue has grown from $2.1 billion to $3.3 billion under the expiring contract - signed in 2005 - that ended the league's last work stoppage.

Individual teams will now begin to announce the cancellation of training camps - set to open next week - and the league is expected to announce the cancellation of pre-season games.

It's unclear now when the two sides will meet again. There has been speculation that the league would not want to cancel the annual Winter Classic played on New Year's Day – scheduled this year between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at the University of Michigan's 'Big House' - and will work to have a deal in place before then.

The NHL is officially in its third work stoppage in less than 20 years. The 1994-95 NHL season was reduced to 48 games because of a lockout and the 2004-05 campaign was wiped out entirely.

Fehr and Bettman (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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